According to the conclusions of a new scientific investigation, it would appear that being subjected to regular and online bullying is causing a rise in substance abuse cases in adolescent girls. The mechanism through which this happens is indirect, scientists say. Previous studies have revealed that both boys and girls who are subjected to abuse by peers at school are more likely to suffer from symptoms associated with depression.
On the other hands, several others researches have demonstrated that teenage girls who are depressed are more likely to begin abusing pills, illegal drugs, and other various toxic substances.
The new study was carried out by investigators at the University of Washington, who were led by researchers Jeremy Luk. His main advice goes out to parents of teenage girls, who need to be more careful and involved in their kids’ lives.
The expert, who holds an appointment as a child clinical psychology PhD student at the university, is also the author of the new scientific paper describing the findings, which appears in the December issue of the esteemed journal Prevention Science.
Luk says that the link between victimization and substance abuse is a newly-discovered one. No other study has sought to investigate this correlation before his. The work was carried out on a representative sample of 1,495 tenth graders, he adds.
“If your daughter is a victim of bullying, take it seriously, do all possible to prevent recurrence, and attend to possible depression and substance use,” the PhD candidate advices, quoted by PsychCentral.
“For parents of boys who are bullied: Depression is still an issue, but it may not explain the relation between victimization and substance use,” he adds further. The data his team used were extracted from the 2005/2006 US Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey.
“Bullying is a serious problem among adolescents. Previous research has shown that it is associated with loneliness, depression and suicide,” the researcher add.
“But no previous national studies have identified depression as an explanation for the relationship between victimization from bullying and substance use,” he concludes.
The conclusions of the new study are also important in light of the fact that the number of instances when kids are bullied is on the rise. Plus, the abusive behavior has now moved online.
This means that children who are subjected to bullying are harassed not also at school, but on social media websites as well. The abuse they endure is therefore permanent, and extends around the clocks. As such, it becomes extremely difficult to deal with.